Spirit Free – Spirit Free Plays Starship


Spirit Free

Artist: Spirit Free
Title: Spirit Free Plays Starship
Record Label: Numero Group
Rating: 6.0

According to this album’s press release, the jazz collective Spirit Free bucked a trend when it came to approaching their art. Back in the 70s when jazz sound-tracked round the clock gambling to the neon backdrop of Las Vegas, Spirit Free took a side step and embraced what would become the foundations of jazz fusion.

Taking their inspiration from the cosmos and Egyptian mythology, Spirit Free didn’t walk the same path as the Rat Pack crowd. Instead, the Jazz group jammed in their garages while experimenting with wah wah pedals and distorted sax notes. This was their way in discovering new, unchartered territories and embracing the unconventional.

This all sounds a little contrived doesn’t it? I have to confess, I really struggle with jazz; it’s all too complicated and fussy. I value the musicianship associated with this genre as I appreciate the craft
that Spirit Free has forged with this unearthed live classic that is….Plays Starship. However this live
recording is incredibly self indulgent, where a song could be wrapped up in three minutes, and the majority of the songs warble on for almost ten. …Play Starship is a fitting title as the album’s intricate and complex rhythms conjure up the essence of an otherworldly experience.

The hallmarks are there for this Jazz odyssey, the frantic drumming, which is excellent, strangled saxophone parps and the up and down scale basslines that rattle and throb with untold abandon. And of course, not forgetting the twinkling piano, which wouldn’t be out of place being played through the speakers of an upmarket hotel.

This is the sort of music I’d expect to hear in an elevator or a casino. It’s pleasant but incredibly accomplished in the terms of a professional musical out-put; however it’s far too overblown for my liking. Anyone fancy a game of roulette?

Words and Thoughts of Adam Williams

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